When away from cities, people are much more likely to stop and help if you have a breakdown. The more remote, the more people are likely to stop. After all, there may not be many cars going past, so everyone stops to offer help.
Not only are people more suspicious of others when in urban areas, but getting help is not difficult. They will usually have phone reception to make a call to their motoring organisation or a mechanic, and food supplies will not be far away. When remote, a simple break down can be major, and if not fixable on the spot, they may be in for a long wait. Recovery by a motoring organisation authorised mechanic will be expensive, particularly if far from the town. Not many people will be so callous as to drive on past a broken down vehicle in the outback.
Even if you don’t have mechanical skills, you may still be able to help. You may have the right tools, cool drinking water, communications methods, or just give them the comfort of knowing someone cares until further help can be found.
When stopping to help, consider the safety of persons (yourselves and the other party) first and foremost. If in traffic, ensure that traffic is stopped or slowed either by bystanders or safety warning devices. People have been run over on the road while doing something as simple as changing a tyre.
When stopping, if you don’t feel comfortable about the circumstances, go slowly alongside and ask out the window “Are you alright?” or “Do you need a hand?” then pull up a little way in front of the stopped vehicle, and one person only walk back to check. We have never felt it a problem and always stop to offer help. Sometimes all is under control, but sometimes help is needed and welcomed.
stopped and helped many times. In
Several times either our larger jack or a second jack has been needed for such a simple task as changing a tyre for a fellow traveller.
On one occasion (on the
Stop and help, offering what ever assistance you can. If offered payment, tell them the only payment you want is that they too always stop and render assistance, and ‘pass it on’. “Don’t pay it back, pay it forward” summarises this sentiment.
With lots of free and low cost camping opportunities, it is worth taking your caravan or camper to
Devonport: There are several caravan parks in and close to Devonport, and at towns within easy commuting distance with caravan parks, low cost or free camping areas.
Permit parking at $10 for self contained close to the Spirit of Tasmania terminal is available at Girdlestone Park, East Devonport. Also available to the south of Devonport at Horsehead Creek, Quoiba.
Free overnight parking for self contained is permitted at a designated area at LaTrobe which is only minutes away from Devonport however it can get packed out.
The Spirit boats only go between Melbourne and Devonport. Depending on the time
of the year, there may be a choice of day or night sailings. We travelled to
Gas cylinders (within code) correctly connected to your carvan or camper can be taken, including any gas contained therein. Other gas bottles must be transported separately, and collected on arrival. For this reason, we decided to leave our camp cooker and gas bottle at home for this trip.
Fuel jerry cans must be empty and dry of residual fuel before they can be carried on the ship. In the event a petrol/diesel can has residual fuel inside, and thereby may have a dangerous gaseous/air mixture, passengers should fill the canister with water before being allowed to travel and to remain with the passenger vehicle. A full fuel tank in your vehicle is acceptable. Generators must have the fuel emptied as best as is possible. Cleaning products such as Methyated Spirits or Thinners may not be taken.
Amenities and laundry were very good. Lightly grassed campsites, including some drive
through so you don't need to unhitch for the overnight. Nice touch - the staff member who books you in then escorts you (on
a buggy) to your site. We booked by on line through the website and communicated by email to ensure we had a drive through site
of suitable size for our rig. Area seemed fairly quiet at night for a city. A small shopping area with Safeway store
right next to the Park. We took the trolley with groceries right to the caravan when we shopped. This did not include
any fruit and vegetables as you cannot take them to
# This caravan park is now under different management and called Discover Parks Melbourne. See Discovery Parks Melbourne. For best routes from this park to the Spirit of Tasmania terminal, use the M1 as per route on this map (follow blue route).
For those travelling with dogs, the nearest Pet Friendly Caravan Park to the Spirit of Tasmania terminal is Five Ways Caravan Park, Dingley Village, 27 kilometres to the south east of the Spirit of Tasmania terminal. This is a small park which gets good reports from those who stay.
Another pet friendly option is Werribee South Caravan Park, on the shores of Port Phillip Bay, 38 kilometres from the Spirit of Tasmania terminal. There have been good reports about this caravan park.
To check out other options, see My Parks List. Caravan parks in Melbourne are not cheap, but is it worth driving half an hour or so, and risk encountering any delays which could see you "miss the boat"?
See our Travelogues from 2006.
Dangerous Goods: Check out what you can carry on the Spirit of Tasmania